Expert Insights Shared During Daylong International Cannabis/Hemp Industry Webinar About Post-Pandemic Markets

By Trevor Yahn-Grode, Data Analyst, New Frontier Data

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the U.S. and abroad, business leaders throughout the global markets have been communicating and cooperating to determine the extent to which the outbreak will affect the cannabis industry internationally, their companies respectively, and the collective outlook generally as the new socioeconomic climate reveals itself.

Earlier this month, New Frontier Data hosted the Global Cannabis Town Hall, an unprecedented online event in which international leaders in the hemp and cannabis industries came together to address the impact of the outbreak and the emerging market challenges and opportunities arising from its wake.

Though the virtual conference focused largely on how the outbreak would affect the legal cannabis industry, special attention was also paid to how the hemp industry would weather the fallout of the public health and economic crisis. The primary takeaways:

1) Investors are Bullish on Hemp/CBD

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, hemp and cannabis operators are poised to encounter several critical issues, including access to capital and liquidity. In an industry which is primarily backed by venture capital, additional strain has been leveled against hemp operators.

Despite the pall of uncertainty hanging over the world economy, investors remain confident in the strength of the hemp and CBD industries. In a recent survey conducted by New Frontier Data, more than a quarter (26%) of sector stakeholders say that they will most likely invest in hemp and CBD in 2020.

“This makes sense,” suggested New Frontier Data’s Chief Knowledge Officer John Kagia. “For much of 2019, CBD was the most discussed cannabis-related subject, partly catalyzed by the legalization of hemp in the U.S., as well as accelerated demand among consumers.”

2) CBD Producers Should Steer Clear of Making COVID-19-Related Claims

CBD is often touted as a miraculous substance which can treat or heal any number of healthcare-related issues, including most recently COVID-19. However, with the FDA-verified exception of intractable seizures brought on by conditions such as Dravet syndrome, there is a glaring dearth of clinical research to verify such medical claims.

“It is doing very serious damage to the path we need to build on,” commented Oliver Zugel, founder and CEO of FoliuMed. “I’m quite concerned about this, because it will do no good to suddenly have people touting that it [cannabinoids/CBD] works with COVID-19.”

Zugel added that the industry is “digging its own grave” if it continues to tolerate operators who make medical claims without the backing of scientific research.

“I think it has to stay at what it is at this stage, which is fundamental research. We know there is potential, but in terms of application, it will take a number of years,” added Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli, an interdisciplinary researcher and advocate for sustainable drug-policy reforms.

3) Hemp Represents A Long-Term Opportunity for Developing Markets

Hemp is an incredibly versatile crop with a host of applications far beyond just CBD. Approximately 51% of adults in the U.S. and EU have expressed interested in purchasing hemp-products within the next year. Consumer interest in hemp-related products is almost evenly distributed among the number of potential hemp applications, such as clothing (18%), bags/backpacks (15%), shoes (13%), skincare (11%), hemp seed oil (11%), and more.

According to Kagia, developing countries which prove able to produce cost-competitive hemp products stand to benefit the most from the surge in consumer interest.

“The spectrum of ways in which hemp can be applied — and the innovation that is beginning to explore those applications now that real capital is flowing into the market — could represent compelling long-term opportunities for developing markets,” he said.

A video recording of the seven segments in the daylong event will be made available here; register now to purchase it, and receive a special discount to receive international experts’ insights for the evolving hemp and cannabis industries.